Present Simple vs. Present Continuous For The Little Ones

Haven’t posted about English in a long time, but I came across a good exercise for children to see the difference between the use of Present Simple and Present Continuous.

There is always a problem with that. They learn everything in PC from the first grade. They are so used to it that when PS is finally introduced they are confused (especially because in Croatian you translate it the same).

I took this idea from a collegue that theaches in higher grades (from 5th and 8th) and she said it was great for them. A bit confusing in the beginning, but once they got the hang of it and understood really why and when you use which tense, it is great.

I tried it in the 2nd and 3rd grade and I’m really happy how it turned out.
Here is how it goes!
You don’t need anything. You just have to stand in front od the class and you tell them sentences using PS and PC. They answer only with YES, NO or MAYBE.

I’m talking English. Yes.
I’m talking French. No.
I’m jumping (you do jump). Yes.
I talk Croatian. Yes.
I’m drinking coffee. No.
I drink coffee. Maybe (Because they don’t know the truth if you really drink it or not).

1. First I start with PC only and I put NOW at the end od the sentence (I’m jumping now.) to emphasise that PC is only for action that are happening right now.
2. Next, I stay with PC, but I tell them actions which are not true. I tell them I’m jumping, but I’m actually standing. So the answer is No.
When they see the difference between those two situations, I put PS in.
3. Add PS sentences. They will answer everything with yes at first, but they will quickly understand. Put same sentences one after another like the one I wrote above with the coffee (so the same sentence, but one in PC and one in PS). Do this a couple of times. They will see the diffrence.
4. Of course, take a minute and ask them why they answer something yes and sometnig no. There will always be one child who understands that PC is for NOW and PS is for something in GENERAL. When we get to this point, I always ask them to explain that. They will repeat the rule a lot and remember it.

And that’s it! Hope you understood me?!
I was really surprised and happy when I saw how quickly they caught on! I will spend a couple od minutes on it from time to time just to make sure they don’t forget it.

Do you have the same problems with PC and PS? How do you deal with it?

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